Friday, March 7

Cherry Brandy (Visinata)

Bottled and ready to serve
Easy Homemade Cherry Brandy (Visinata)
Vişinată is a Romanian homemade alcoholic beverage made from sour cherries, and since it is homemade, there really is no "official" recipe for it.
This sipping drink is traditionally drank on Christmas morning.

This is a drink I share with friends and family during the fall and winter holidays.  It has a very smooth pleasant taste equally enjoyed by people who enjoy dry wine or people who enjoy sweet wine.

Just a word of caution:  This is a very smooth drink and sometimes is mistakenly thought to have a low alcohol content.  The women at our Crafting Circle Christmas Party got a “snoot full”, as my mother used to say.  There was much singing, gaiety and shenanigans needless to say.

The best flavor will strongly depend on the quality of the cherries, so I strongly recommended using only fresh hand picked healthy ripe fruit.

Homemade Cherry Brandy

Kids having fun picking cherries

3 lbs. cherries
5 cups sugar
Vodka (the higher proof the better)
1 large glass jar


Wash and stalk the cherries. Leave the stones, which will add a little almond flavor to the finished product.

Put the cherries and sugar into large sterilized glass jar (or any non-metal container) in alternating layers, ending with a sugar layer on top. I double the recipe so I use a large glass pickle jar.

Cover the top of the jar with several layers of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band or very loosely apply the jar lid, just setting it on top, not screwed on.
Gases from the fermentation process need to escape, but you want to keep insects out!

Also, keep the outside of the jar clean by daily wiping off any juice that make leak out. I keep a towel under the jar to catch anything that drips down the sides of the jar.

Cherries & sugar in a glass jar
in alternating layers

Allow the cherry mixture to ferment, which will take approximately 2 weeks.
During those 2 weeks, gently stir the mixture or roll the bottle at least twice a day to mix. You should be gentle when stirring the mixture to prevent breakdown of the fruit.  This is an important step to make sure all the cherries are rotated into the sugar and have fermented correctly.

Cherries and sugar fermenting

After fermentation, add the vodka in equal parts to the cherry mixture. My jar was half full of the cherry mixture, so I filled the remaining half with vodka for a 50 – 50 mix.
Important: Do not add the vodka in the beginning.  Alcohol kills everything and will also stop the fermentation.

Vişinată is ready to drink with in 4 weeks after adding the vodka but its best when allowed to set for a few months to mellow.  Aging the drink improves the flavor.

Store in glass jars in a cool dark place

After mixing vodka with cherry mixture, spoon out cherries and place a few or many into each storage jar or bottle. Pour vodka cherry mixture on top of cherries and seal the jars.
Or you can remove the cherries right away and use for ingredient in cakes and pies.  If left in the jars they will wrinkle and lose flavor with time.

Store Cherry Brandy in a cool dark place for months or until ready to drink.
Before serving, place a bottle or two in the refrigerator to chill. Serve chilled with 2 or 3 cherries added to each glass.



You can also use the leftover cherries, pitted, to make cherry cordials: just dip them in sugar fondant, let them dry, and then dip them in chocolate. The alcohol in the cherries liquefies the fondant so you have liquid inside your chocolate shell.

This year I may try this same recipe using blueberries or maybe raspberries.  I’m not sure I’ll share the Raspberry Brandy with friends and family, just so you know,



Anonymous said...

The cherry brandy looks awesome.
I may try to make it next summer when the cherries come in! I'm sure the raspberry brandy would be really good, too. I think Bev made some wine years ago.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Yes, I remember Beverly and I think Big Steve making wine. Wonder how that turned out? I was too young to drink it, haha.
This Cherry Brandy is really smooth so I'm looking forward to trying other fruits.
I also made Apple Pie Moonshine and will post that recipe sometime soon.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I just had to comment because this is almost exactly how my family makes brandy for years and years.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Why thank you, I hope they visit often and like the blog!

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Well that's great. Actually while researching how to make Visinata or Cherry Brandy I ran across a very long comment written by an old Romanian woman who wrote in detail about how to make it just like her family has for generations. She also said it is served during Holidays, which I love. Thanks for letting me know this recipe is also close to an your old family recipe.

Hope Burmeister said...

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts, i am very interested in that comment from the old Romanian woman who how her family made it! Can you direct me to it? I found this blog here and am making it and passed it on to my great aunt so she can too! We are both very excited and we would both be interested in the Romanian recipe too!

Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog! We love reading your blogs and trying your recipes!!


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